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Fluorescent Lights

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My aquarium light broke down 3 days ago. It’s just a standard fluorescent light like most aquariums.

First things first I bought a new globe, I brought it home and it didn’t start.

Next I got dad to have a look at it, he suggested that the starter might be faulty.

We returned to the aquarium shop, sure enough they had some spare starters at $30!!!

Luckily dad’s worked in the electronics industry long enough to know that a standard low quality starter is worth no more then $2 retail value.

In the end the starter was given to us free of charge, dad can be convincing when he wants to be.

We went home and replaced the starter and the light still didn’t work!

Dad got out his multimeter and the ballast seemed to be the source of the problem. The dilemma was that the ballast was pop riveted into place so the average Jo would need to replace the whole light and fitting at $80 value! A ballast costs approx $10 retail, big difference.

No so in our case, dad drilled the ballast out and as a precaution checked it with the multimeter, this time the reading was normal. After readjusting the wires and using screws to put the ballast back into place my light was fixed!

I was fascinated by how simplistic the circuit was as it’s often an overlooked piece of aquarium equipment.

After researching it’s a little more complex then what I imagined even though the components are simple and quite easy to build. Here’s some info on how aquarium lights work, it may be useful if you ever have a lighting issue:


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Great Link Klara,

If you feel up to a challenge you could try to do this http://www.plantedtank.net/articles/Overdr...Output-ODNO/18/ it increases the power of the fluorescent and expelles more light or something... i tried to understand :(:) So you or your dad might have better luck with it! it just works with the adaptation of the ballast so that instead of being able to cater for more than one light it is focused on one... anyway the link is there if you want to try it!!!

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I get what their saying, it's just a modified series circuit. Stuff you do in high school science. Each ballast can handle a certain amount of workload much like a battery. Mine can handle 30W so it's working at maximum capasity now, it could also handle 2 15W globes wich wouldn't necessarily give more light but it would give me the option of lowering the light if I wire it as a parrallel circuit and have a seperate switch. Unless you have a powerful ballast you'll blow it up by overloading. Then there's the overheating issue which they acknowledge not to mention severely shortened bulb and component life. In the long term running that system would cost more and you'll be forever replacing parts if it doesn't catch fire first! I wouldn't try this method, it's too risky and in my opinion quite foolish to try and overload the fluorescent lights with more current then they were designed for.

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